Rasa and the saturated event | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1756-4921
  • E-ISSN: 1756-493X



Western performance theorists have concluded, often, that rasa is an emotion, or a physical sensation, or the product of the physical expressivity of performers. For the Natyashastra, rasa is none of these things. Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman’s description of brain activity and consciousness may help understand rasa. Edelman’s description of consciousness as a ‘process’ entailed (but not caused) by the interaction of various brain systems may renew theoretical approaches to rasa. We may be able to talk about rasa as a ‘conscious state’, having its own unitary and subjective quality, as well as its own content determined by memory and knowledge. Certainly, given the Natyashastra’s insistence on aesthetic distance, rasa, like Edelman’s ‘consciousness’, is modulated by attention. Based on the precepts of Neural Darwinism, as articulated by Edelman, we can articulate rasa as a state of consciousness that arises from the contingent interactivity of brain systems, intentionality and attention.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cognition; consciousness; Rasa
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